Dave Kusek, co-developer of MIDI and veteran thinker on the future of music, has put the text of his Cycles of Music presentation online. He reminds us that “record labels are a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of music”, and argues that:
Music has always been free in one form or another, throughout history and that the relationship between the artists and their fans - the artists and their patrons is what really matters.
Kusek tracks the history of recorded music, from radio to Napster, and doesn’t hold back when evaluating the record industry:
The record business has never really been good for the vast majority of musicians. A dirty little secret of the music business is that 95% of artists never recouped their royalty advances. Labels have been notoriously unfair to their artists.
Especially relevant to Karmafan is his vision of the future:
Technology has shifted the power base from the record labels to the artists and mangers, and the music fans. Performer and patron are meeting again with direct relationships between artists and their fans enabled by technology.
It’s a very positive and optimistic presentation which should make any musician feel in control.